The Plank

The Odd Couple


As Michael Barbaro and Robert Pear are reporting, at a Washington press conference scheduled for 11 a.m., Andy Stern, the president of SEIU, and Lee Scott, the CEO of Wal-Mart, are supposed to announce they agree on some basic principles for health care reform -- including universal health care by some date, likely 2012.

This is the latest in a series of announcements pairing strange bedfellows on health care reform. But it is surely be the most significant such event, given the deep and well-known hostility between Stern's union and Scott's company--not to mention the fact that Wal-Mart, of all companies, would be on the record as supporting universal health care.

One more note of interest: The two men, along with some other corporate executives gathered for the event, will also call for some form of "shared responsibilty" among employers, individuals, and government. If the phrase sounds familiar, that's because John Edwards used the same term earlier this week when he unveiled his own universal health care plan, which uses the increasingly popular indivdiual mandate model. Is this a new consensus emerging?

More details later on.

--Jonathan Cohn

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